WBAI-FM Upcoming Program
Arts Express

Wed, Apr 19, 2023 9:00 PM


** "I think to myself, I wish I were an alien dropping off. Because I could get on a ship and get the hell out of here - because these people are nuts, a bunch of warring tribes..."

The US Empire Is Falling Apart: Crime Scenes Edition. Political analyst, Pacifica host and contributor to this show Garland Nixon, is on the case.

** "Right now, with the way this country is, we all need to get a bucket - and help bail out the ship."

W. Kamal Bell Talks Growing Up Mixed. Taking up the complicated issue of race in this country as no laughing matter, the stand up comedian and filmmaker of the Emmy nominated 'We Need To Talk About Cosby' and 'United Shades Of America' explores the question, is race a real thing - and how important that conversation in his latest documentary, is key.

** "Among other things, bringing you all the news you need in today's crowded information landscape..."

Arts Express Playhouse: Don't Touch That Dial! Referencing Agatha Christie themed mystery meat, the world's largest slice of French toast, and 'be happy, no matter what.' Stay tuned, and all will be revealed...

** 'No Justice, No Peace Prize...'

Art And Politics: Red Iowa Episode. A persistent question when it comes to the complex relationships between politics and art: Can they at times be viewed as compatible entities - if ever. Our Artist In Residence Peter Wise explores these issues on the Arts Express Hot Seat with French-Tunisian local Iowa based artist as well, Cecile Houel.

Commissioned to paint a continuous series of Nobel Peace Prize recipient portraits, Houel discusses her recent portrait of Theodore Roosevelt. But what about the no less controversial Nobel Peace Prize awarded war criminals like Kissinger - and Obama, the President who most bombed the world...

1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed Movie Review

While likely everyone in the US has mixed racial or ethnic heritage, a specific issue arises for mixed people of color. In a society with an implicitly imposed identity that you're either white or nonwhite, how do those people of color who may have a multiplicity of racial identities define themselves - and when in opposition to those likely white, presumptuously defining them.

To provide clarity to this thorny issue, personally, socially and politically, filmmaker and comedian W. Kamau Bell assembled a wide ranging series of interviews with these individuals, mostly children, to provide testimony as to how they feel about themselves racially, and about the way others perceive them. The result is a deep dive into an emotionally teeming complexity. And with a personal perspective added to the mix as well, as Bell's own children who speak on camera, are mixed with a white mother and African American father.

The results are candid, mostly upbeat, but occasionally blistering as to their confused place in a racially confounding society. And though the space for a more expansive probe is limited by the single hour of the documentary, there are nevertheless a multitude of thoughts and feelings expressed.

Though what would have made for a more thorough explanation - which Bell has indicated will be explored in hopefully future planned sequels, are for instance, venturing beyond the rather culturally protective San Francisco enclave of the country. Which tends to convey a more positive outlook regarding racial acceptance of these individuals, that may be less than realistic given this problematic country.

Likewise is the US cultural tendency of whites to perceive all people of color as nonwhite, rather arbitrarily excluding more specific distinctions. This may not be as confusing for those mixed individuals with black and white parents, but far less so for, say, a mixed Asian and black person lumped together with them perceptually. 

Another issue complicating the mix, is that under the horrors of US slavery, as a result African Americans are essentially mixed race through no choice of their own. Which would have made for a more complex added historical discussion, if there had been more time. Along with Bell himself admitting elsewhere that he himself discovered through DNA testing, that he is thirty percent white.

Prairie Miller



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